My Breakup With Wells Fargo Was Weird And Awkward

Matthew has spent 23 years as a customer of a bank that was eventually gobbled up by Wells Fargo. Finally tired of the bank’s shenanigans, he moved his personal checking account to a local credit union. What he didn’t count on was that Wells Fargo didn’t want to let him go, and would stop at nothing to get his attention. Even overdrafting his account instead of declining transactions.

Twenty-three years after opening my first savings account with Norwest Bank and finally fed up with Wells Fargo and everything they do, I set up an account at a local credit union a few weeks back. My wife and I already have our mortgage, vehicle loan, and joint account for bills and major household expenses with another credit union in town. This small WF account was for my personal purchases a well as gifts, lunches, etc. Over the course of the last few weeks I have been rerouting my direct deposit for my compensation and had moved my small automatic payments to the credit union account.

With about $5 left in the account, I received an email on Monday that I had insufficient funds to process a $10 transaction(a monthly subscription tied to my debit card I had yet to transfer), but my friendly Wells Fargo had processed it for me and rewarded me with a $35 overdraft fee. This put my account balance negative just over $40. I was rather enraged since I do not have overdraft protection on my Wells Fargo checking account. They are supposed to decline any charge that would overdraft my account(something I’ve not done in quite some time).

I grabbed my safe deposit box keys and my briefcase and went there after work to finish this abusive relationship off once and for all. I started by getting my parking validated and then went to the vault to access my safe deposit box. I unceremoniously emptied the contents of the box into my briefcase and then closed it up. On the way out of the vault I asked the box attendant to speak to a banker and I was promptly shown to one.

I told her that I needed to get the overdraft charge reversed since I do not have overdraft protection on the account and I never agreed to that fee. After a few semi-polite rounds of circular logic and her insisting that they had done me a favor by processing this charge, I realized they intended to make this fee stick. I figured it was time to pay out, say goodbye and move on. I told her I was going to close my account today. She stated that they didn’t want to lose me as a customer over an overdraft fee. I responded that if that were the case she was more than welcome to reverse it. She turned that down and I repeated my desire to close my account.

She asked for my Wells Fargo debit card, my ID and a deposit to cover the negative balance so I gave her the card, ID and cash along with both keys to my now-empty safe deposit box. She opened the box and remarked “Oh, it’s empty.” She left with the ID, card and cash then returned a few minutes later. At this point, they stationed what had to be the biggest male employee in the building about 10 feet behind my chair where he remained for the remainder of my stay. It was laughable. She then left the desk with my keys to “get my safe deposit box rental agreement.” She returned with the agreement and the box. It was rather unnerving to know that she accessed my box without me, so I was glad I had emptied it on my own accord before speaking to her.

At this point, things get weird. She tells me that I am owed a $20 deposit on the keys, but since my account is closed they will send me a check. I asked for cash, since I had just paid her in the same. She stated I should expect the check in 2-4 weeks and I would not be getting cash.

I had enough and I let her know in no uncertain terms(and an elevated volume) that:

Her bank had charged me a fee(likely in violation of the law) that I had not agreed to;
She had refused to reverse that unwarranted fee;
She had accessed my safe deposit box without me present;
She knew I was closing my account and box today and easily could have applied the $20 key deposit to satisfy a good part of the negative balance(due to the above mentioned fee) but chose not to;
I expected a document or receipt that showed I was owed the $20 fee and would be receiving a check.

I was told no such document would be made available to me and that since I no longer had business with the bank that I should leave immediately. Good thing I got my parking validated on the way in.

We’ll see if that check shows up.

Letting go is hard. But at Wells Fargo, apparently logic is harder.

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